Composite Recycling Technology Center Produces First-Ever Automotive SeatbackUsing Recycled Carbon Fiber from ELG Carbon Fibre, Ltd.
Left to right: CRTC Chief Executive Officer David Walter, CRTC Fellow and VP of Innovation Geoffrey Wood, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, Washington State Department of Commerce Clean Energy Sector Lead Brian Young, and Loren Lyon, President and Center Director of Impact Washington stand together around the seatback preform on August 8, 2017.
The Composite Recycling Technology Center and ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd of the
UK jointly demonstrated the manufacture of an automotive seatback made from recycled carbon fiber
composite, at the Automotive Lightweight Materials Summit in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 22-24, 2017.
The tooling was supplied in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing
Innovation (IACMI) of Knoxville, Tenn.
The goal of the project was to demonstrate manufacturability of the materials, to test flow and
compaction into the various features, and to provide samples for non-destructive and destructive
testing. The project successfully addressed all issues to develop final prototypes. It will lead the way
forward to entering production in automotive interiors with fast-cycle molding of recycled carbon
fiber/thermoplastic materials at highly competitive costing. ELG, CRTC, and IACMI look forward to the
next steps in the development efforts and pursuing production opportunities in high-volume
“This is a very exciting project and I am very proud of the entire team who worked hard to turn this seat
from a vision into reality,” said David Walter, CRTC CEO. “The close collaboration with the team from
IACMI and ELG made this project a big success.”
The bucket-style seatback is approximately 24-inches high and 19-inches wide, with side flanges of
nearly 5-inches at their deepest. It utilized 1.3 kg of ELG’s Carbiso TM PA6 60% SM45D. The recycled
fiber/nylon 6 resin was molded at CRTC in a hot compression cycle at 435 F, using their Wabash/MPI
300-ton hot-platen press. The seatback was molded in IACMI’s aluminum tool that was previously
developed for a pre-production prototype evaluation project.
From its new, state-of-the-art facility leased from the Port of Port Angeles, the CRTC has pioneered the
recycling and reuse of tons of uncured carbon fiber composite scrap that would otherwise go to landfills.
The CRTC’s focus is to create jobs and drive economic development in Clallam County.
About 50 million pounds of carbon fiber scrap are produced annually, with approximately 2 million
pounds per year produced in Washington state – a volume expected to double over the next five to
eight years, with the expansion of regional manufacturing.
Under a new contract with IACMI, the CRTC will pioneer ways to automate processing of this scrap and
remanufacture it into new consumer products. This technology breakthrough is essential so carbon fiber
scrap can be processed in high volumes, fulfilling the enormous potential for energy savings and carbon
reduction and creating a global composites recycling industry.
For its technological innovation and new market creation, CRTC earned the Silver Award for
Sustainability from Seattle Business Magazine in 2017. The company has created 16 jobs and more than
$3 million in new economic activity over the past year, garnering a 2016 Award of Excellence from the
Clallam County Economic Development Corporation.
The CRTC has a multi-faceted agreement with Toray Composite Materials America for scrap carbon fiber
supply and materials development, and continues to work very collaboratively with this strategic
Funding for the CRTC recycling facility and campus was provided by the Port of Port Angeles, the U.S.
Economic Development Administration, the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Clallam
County Opportunity Fund and the City of Port Angeles.
The CRTC campus also houses Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing Composite Technology
program with classrooms, offices, and lab facilities. The program gives students hands-on training in
advanced materials recycling and remanufacturing techniques. Co-location with CRTC provides students
with unequaled opportunities for internships, manufacturing and R&D experience, and exposure to
For more information contact: David Walter, 360-819-1203, email@example.com
For more information on the CRTC: www.compositerecycling.org